Consumers demand transparency, health insurance rates remain hidden
By Consumers Union on Monday, June 23rd, 2014
We have to admit it. We can’t figure out what the folks in Washington, D.C., overseeing health insurance, are thinking.
Instead of releasing the information about proposed insurance rates for next year – so consumer groups like ours have time to fight unfair rate hikes before they go into effect – the people over at the Department of Health and Human Services just made public the justifications for last year’s rates. That’s right, the rates you’re already paying.
Um. Not helpful.
One of the key points of Obamacare was to make sure health insurance companies aren’t gouging consumers. To do that, Federal regulations require that insurers’ proposed rates be made public before they go into effect, so states and consumers can weigh in and make sure they are justified.
But with less than 5 months to go before open enrollment begins for next year’s insurance plans, we still don’t know what most insurance companies are planning to charge us. And the longer the delay, the less time we have to fight outrageous increases.
Thousands of you already sent messages to the Health and Human Services Secretary to release rate requests for next year. Instead, we got old rates. As of now, there still is no indication when the agency will release the new information.
Insurance companies make all kinds of assumptions about the future of medical costs when they raise rates. There’s a lot of uncertainty and we want to make sure the rates aren’t biased against consumers. If consumers can’t see it, consumers can’t check it. That’s why Consumers Union supports making all proposed rate information public. We won’t let up, and will continue to press the issue with reporters, regulators, advocates and insurance policyholders nationwide who are frustrated about rising costs.
If you haven’t already, send your own quick message to the Health Secretary demanding next year’s proposed rates be released as soon as possible – and ask, ‘What are you thinking?’